Abstracted – In memory of Paul Jenkins (1923 – 2012)

Abstract Art. Source: Google.

“Of all the arts, abstract painting is the most difficult. It demands that you know how to draw well, that you have a heightened sensitivity for composition and for colours, and that you be a true poet. This last is essential.” – Wassily Kandinsky.

Ask a common man what abstract art is and he’ll tell you this, “A splash of colors or the swish-swosh of the brush over the canvas.” Well to a point, he’s right in his statement. This is how we see abstract art today; meaningless, non-recognizable objects, just the use of colors and strokes and the sort. Where we go wrong is that not all abstract art are meaningless. When you come to think of it, the meaning of the word abstract is something that departs from reality. True, some artists have agreed that their art doesn’t have a specific meaning to them, but some artists have a hidden or subtle meaning behind their work, and they leave it for the audience to decipher the meaning out of them, which of course would be subjective, but that would be the main intention of the artist.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if you visit a friend’s place, and you would see an abstract painting hanging on the wall of his room. Not only does the artist but also the common individuals appreciate the art’s beauty. The popularity lies in that very factor; the artwork isn’t restricted to be understood by only elite artists or art lovers, even the common man can also enjoy it. People collect them as it adds beauty to their surroundings, or just lets them stay at par with the modern popular culture. A successful abstract painting has the ability to simulate the mind of the audience; it can make people talk, connect, and communicate.

Abstract artists are out and about. These days, art galleries are filled with works of abstract painters. Many abstract artists would emerge in the future and would be successful too, but history would still an inspiration to all of them and Paul Jenkins is one of those names that will always be remembered.

Paul Jenkins, with one of his paintings, in 2005. Source: NewYork Times.

The death of this popular artist was one of the news stories that hit around on the 9th of June. He was 88 at the time and passed away due to a short illness.  An accomplished artist in the field of Abstract Expressionism, his artworks upheld that physical tradition of manipulating paint over canvas. Paul Jenkins’s career began in the 1950s, and art critiques admire him for his use of “flowing, billowing veils of color that dazzle with their formal acrobatics and luminous jewel tones.” His favorite tool was an ivory knife, which he used to guide the flow of paint. He was once quoted that he used to allow the colors to roll, pool and bleed, and he sometimes kneaded and hauled on the canvas – “as if it were a sail”.

Have a look at a few of his artworks or you can even visit his website (http://www.pauljenkins.net/) to know more about him and his art.

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Lines to paint; it’s all about art!

Art workshops are a rare treat these days. It’s always hard to take time out from this fast paced life and attend a few. But when brought to you, why miss the chance!

The Interior Design department at Manipal University conducted an amazing workshop for us, the Visual Communication students and for a few Interior Design students too, on Sunday, 29th April. It was held in one of the workshops at Manipal Dubai and was conducted by Ms. Sujata Dharap, an artist settled in India, who’s currently visiting Dubai to display her artworks in an exhibition at the Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre (DUCTAC).

A jolly wonderful person, she spent three hours with us talking about the very basics of art to the very intricacies and styles each individual develops along the time once they develop the passion for it.

“Artists, unlike graphic designers are not bound by any briefs; we do what our heart feels like doing, no boundaries.” – Ms. Dharap

She believes art is all about experiencing it first, and then making meaning out of it. Unless you don’t experience it, the art you make becomes redundant. For her, it all starts with abstract lines and slowly builds up to those brilliant pieces of art she has under her name.


Some of her works (http://www.sujatadharap.com/)

During the workshop, we were assigned multiple tasks; from basic random forms on our notebooks, to pastel coloring on paper, to abstract paintings using just red, blue, and yellow! Boy it was fun! Being a person who’s really fussy on dirtying hands, I ended having paint all over my fingers and nails; had to break my obsessive behavior somehow right?

Random doodles!


Pastel love!


Red, blue, yellow. All our works put together!

At the end, she advised us to enjoy and ‘feel’ the art we do, than just do something that can be labelled off using theoretical learnings, thus making it boring.

Ms. Dharap and a few of us at the end of the day! (Image courtesy: Arathi)

Signing off…